Author Archives: kcmoritz

Rock Bridge’s Niyonzima Etienne named Gates Millennium Scholar

SCHOOLS: ROCK BRIDGE HIGH

By KATIE MORITZ

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Rock Bridge High School senior Niyonzima Etienne was named one of the 1,000 nationwide recipients of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scholarship will pay for Etienne’s undergraduate education at Missouri State University, where he plans to earn a degree in construction management.

According to the program’s website, the scholarship can be used at the university of the recipient’s choice, and is awarded based on academic achievement, community service and leadership potential.

Niyonzima Etienne

Etienne, who was born in the Congo, was a refugee in Tanzania until he moved to the U.S. with his family in 2007. When he came to Columbia, he spoke no English. But he was a quick learner, and soon wanted to teach English to other African refugees in the area.

In an interview with Etienne earlier this year, he said the three needs of refugees that must be met for them to have successful lives in the U.S. are English language skills, transportation and employment. Etienne began teaching refugees English in his living room every week. He also travels to churches and hospitals with them to act as a translator. In February, he was helping 10 families.

Earlier this year, Etienne was named one of six distinguished finalists in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The program honors middle and high school students for outstanding community service.

Upon receiving a construction management degree, Etienne hopes to employ refugees to help build structures in their communities. Etienne will graduate from Rock Bridge on May 21.

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Meet your neighbor: Connie Leipard

ROCK BRIDGE-GREEN MEADOWS-BEDFORD WALK-CEDAR LAKE

By KATIE MORITZ

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Connie Leipard works daily to give girls the chance to do whatever they want when they grow up — including construction work.

Connie Leipard works in her office at Quality Drywall Construction on May 5. Leipard is a regional director for the National Association of Women in Construction.

Leipard, who owns Quality Drywall Construction, 165 E. Hoedown Drive, with her husband, Michael, is the Region 6 director of the National Association of Women in Construction. The all-female organization supports women in the construction industry, and sponsors youth events to build awareness and interest for construction work in the younger generation.

Region 6 comprises Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, and part of Illinois, and includes seven chapters with about 300 members total. Nationwide, NAWIC has 14 regions and about 4,000 members. The organization also has chapters in Canada, the U.K. and South Africa.

NAWIC sponsors the Block Kids Building Program, which challenges elementary school-age children with the MacGyver-esque task of creating a structure in one hour, using only 100 Lego bricks, a rock, a string, a piece of aluminum foil and a poster board. This year, a second grader from Region 6, Augustus May, won first place at the national Block Kids competition and will be honored this fall at the Construction Innovation Forum NOVA Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla.

Leipard said the most influential youth program NAWIC sponsors is Mother-Daughter Construction Career Day at Linn State Technical College in Linn.

“We try to get out and help the girls think that in real life they can be successful at anything they really want to do,” she said. Continue reading

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Volunteers from The Crossing help out at home for abused children

ROCK BRIDGE-GREEN MEADOWS-BEDFORD WALK-CEDAR LAKE

By KATIE MORITZ

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Coyote Hill, a home in Harrisburg for abused and neglected children, hosted more than 300 volunteers from The Crossing church on Saturday, April 30, for a second annual Coyote Hill Work Day. Last year, more than 200 volunteers from the church joined the work day.

Adult and youth volunteers from The Crossing, 3615 Southland Drive, painted ceilings and walls, cleaned up the lake area, transplanted trees, constructed a corral, washed vans, painted a basketball court, made meals and desserts and even gave haircuts to some of the children at the home, Coyote Hill Development Director Kari Salmon said. The volunteers worked from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

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Kramer Family Eyecare moves to new Providence Road location

ROCK BRIDGE-GREEN MEADOWS-BEDFORD WALK-CEDAR LAKE

Kramer Family Eyecare recently relocated from the downtown office it occupied for more than 22 years to its new location at 3901 S. Providence Rd., a building previously occupied by In Vision Eye Care Center. The Providence location is approximately three miles away from its former Broadway office.

Owner J. Andrew Kramer, O.D., decided to make the move to increase accessibility for his patients. The location, near the intersection of Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard, allows patrons to park right in front of the building.

The new Kramer Family Eyecare building was recently remodeled, and features an expanded area for eyeglass fitting. The practice will continue to offer vision exams, contact lens fitting and other services.

Kramer Family Eyecare moved to its new location April 4. Call 449-4188 or visit the practice’s website for more information.

—Katie Moritz,

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

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Local DECA members to compete in international competition

SCHOOLS: ROCK BRIDGE, HICKMAN HIGH; ROCK BRIDGE-GREEN MEADOWS-BEDFORD WALK-CEDAR LAKE

By KATIE MORITZ

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Thirteen Columbia Area Career Center students from Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools are eligible to advance to the DECA International Career Development Conference in late April. These finalists were part of a group of 41 Columbia students who competed at the DECA state competition March 13 through March 15 at the Lake of the Ozarks. More than 1,600 Missouri high school students competed at state.

DECA is an international program for high school students that teaches business and marketing skills. Many DECA members go on to study business management or marketing in college or enter the workforce in related jobs, CACC DECA Advisor Scott Fuenfhausen said. Fuenfhausen himself worked in advertising for 17 years before becoming a teacher, marketing everything from Twinkies to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

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Rock Bridge 4-H Club to host Spring Egg Hunt

Photo by KEVIN A. ROBERTS

ROCK BRIDGE-GREEN MEADOWS-BEDFORD WALK-CEDAR LAKE

Youngsters in preschool through third grade and their grownups are invited to the 35th annual Rock Bridge 4-H Club Spring Egg Hunt. The hunt will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 23, at the shelter behind Rock Bridge Elementary School, 5151 S. Highway 163. The event will also include a petting zoo. Prospective egg hunters are asked to bring their own baskets.

Contact Joanne Cowan at 449-7946 with questions.

—Katie Moritz,

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

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Filed under Columbia-Boone County, Rock Bridge—Green Meadows—Bedford Walk—Cedar Lake

Rock Bridge student newspaper, yearbook win big at J-Day

SCHOOLS: ROCK BRIDGE HIGH

By KATIE MORITZ

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Led by adviser Robin Stover, the Rock Bridge High School yearbook and newspaper staffs walked away from Missouri Interscholastic Press Association J-Day, a high school journalism competition, with 14 awards and 22 awards, respectively.

High school publications are judged at J-Day based on school size, and awards are given in five categories: newspaper, yearbook, photojournalism, broadcast and diversity of coverage. Two levels of individual student awards are given: ShowMe, or first place, and Superior, or second place. J-Day judges award ShowMes to a maximum of 10 percent of entries per category. There is no limit to how many Superiors can be awarded.

For senior Kristen Williams, yearbook co-editor-in-chief, the biggest accomplishment of the April 5 event was taking home the All-Missouri award, the highest J-Day honor, for last year’s yearbook, themed “Making My Mark.” Pages for this year’s book also earned awards. All in all, the yearbook, Flashback, scooped up four ShowMe awards and 10 Superior awards.

“It’s nice to know that those pages are good for this year’s book,” Williams said.

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